An article in the latest issue of the JAPA makes a case for getting rid of single-family zoning in U.S. cities. The authors argue that single-family zoning exacerbates inequality and promotes the inefficient use of valuable urban land. By excluding other types of development, R1 zoning produces a housing scarcity in desirable places, which pushes prices up and excludes all but wealthy residents.
Chandler, AZ, may be the first city to recognize that apartment dwellers will need less parking in the future. In anticipation of autonomous vehicles, the city is changing its zoning code to loosen parking minimums in new buildings. Developers welcome such flexibility, as building parking can be expensive and AVs and other emerging technologies, such as ridesharing and bikesharing, are reducing the need for tenants to own personal cars.
San Francisco has approved an amendment to its existing planning code that incorporates an ambitious transportation demand management program for future residential and commercial development. Working to manage its transportation system across modes in the growing city, San Francisco will now require TDM measures for new developments for a variety of land uses.
In a provocatively titled article—The Suburb That Tried to Kill the Car—Politico digs into how the Chicago suburb of Evanston reinvented itself through transit-oriented development. It is a tale with lessons for many other communities about the interplay and delicate balance of land use, transportation options, parking, zoning, tax revenues, affordable housing, and attracting new development.
Conventional wisdom asserts that rail does a better job of spurring transit-oriented development than a bus rapid transit line, but until now no one has quantified the return on investment with a BRT line. A new study released by ITDP this week attempts to quantify the TOD potential of these transit options and find that, “Per dollar of transit investment, and under similar conditions, Bus Rapid Transit leverages more transit-oriented development investment than Light Rail Transit or streetcars.”
The large supply of parking has become a key concern in transportation and land use planning. Lots of parking makes it difficult for non-motorized modes to function, shifts costs from drivers to others, encourages SOV use, reduces available land for higher and better uses, creates stormwater issues, and so forth. One factor driving the prevalence of parking is regulation through zoning codes that impose parking minimums.
A recent study by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota considers the perspective of developers and business leaders interested in developing TOD sites in the Twin Cities. The study finds that there is an unmet demand for TOD and other walkable, multimodal transportation infrastructure. However, encouraging walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods will require the different actors involved—developers, business owners, and municipalities—to work together to develop a new suite of policies, zoning codes, and other ordinances that will foster this type of development.
In releasing a new zoning handbook, New York City’s Planning Commissioner, Amanda Burden, extolled its virtues: “Zoning is the language of the city, it is a three-dimensional blueprint for what any area of the city …